WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The weather this January has been cooperating for road and bridge repairs, and work is underway on a bridge in Luzerne County that’s been closed for over a year.
Luzerne County officials say they’re waiting for the green light from PennDOT and anticipating its reopening as soon as next month.
The Water Street Bridge has been closed since August 2021. Residents in the area are getting tired of the congestion caused by the bridge closure and are hoping for some good news.
Waiting for the green light to once again drive over the Firefighters Memorial Bridge.
“It’s surprising that the small towns of West Pittston and Pittston really need the two bridges,” stated Carol Deleo of West Pittston.
The bridge, also known as the Water Street Bridge, connects West Pittston to Pittston. It was shut down in August 2021 after it failed an inspection. Almost a year and a half later, the possibility of its reopening finally has some ‘piers’ to stand on.
Luzerne County engineer Larry Plesh tells Eyewitness News that PennDOT is currently reviewing an inspection that occurred in December. If all is well, Plesh says the bridge could reopen by the end of February with a new weight limit.
The weight limit on the Water Street Bridge was 20 tons before the span closed.
This downgraded limit would still allow safe passage by cars, vans, and sports utility vehicles.
“My biggest concern is that it’s safe, it’s been closed for so long it makes you think how safe is the bridge,” said Michael Garzella of West Pittston.
The county expects to hear from PennDOT by the end of January about the possibility of reopening next month. In the meantime, the Water Street Bridge is getting some TLC.
On Wednesday morning, Eyewitness News captured workers working on deck repairs. They will also need to post new weight limit signs. Residents in the nearby area are crossing their fingers everything goes smoothly.
“The taxing of all the cars and trucks going over the fort Jenkins Bridge, the Dale Kridlo Bridge has really been terrible traffic,” described Deleo.
“Anytime I went over to the east side typically I would use that bridge, it was easier for me to go over this bridge than the concrete bridge on the other side,” explained Garzella.
There is also a possibility PennDOT has stipulations with the inspection that was done by the county, which could require more repairs and delay opening further.
Eyewitness News requested to speak with the county engineer to gather more information but was blocked by Acting County Manager Brian Swetz, who has also refused to comment.